Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fight for Your Place - Cooper

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fight for Your Place - Cooper

Article excerpt


AS Darlington prepare for tonight's second friendly of the summer, manager Mark Cooper has warned his players not to take their places in the team for granted.

The recently installed gaffer was pleased with how his squad performed against Premier League Sunderland on Saturday.

But he wants the same commitment against Sheffield Wednesday at the Arena tonight and, for that matter, in all the remaining pre-season warm-up games.

If that wasn't warning enough, Cooper has also confirmed that he's looking to further bolster his squad for the critical 2010/11 Blue Square Premier promotion campaign.

Expecting a demanding season ahead, the manager said: "The league that we're going into, we'll have to compete and get stuck in and the players that we've brought in can certainly do that.

"There might be one or two more to come in, we're still actively looking, we're one defender short so we're still looking.

"There's no guarantee that the team that started against Sunderland will start against Newport on the opening day," he added. "There will be injuries etcetera, so everybody that's in the squad has to be adaptable and flexible and ready to go into the team."

Cooper hopes to have a full squad of fit players available for tonight's game.

Chris Senior limped out of the narrow 1-0 defeat to Sunderland with a dead leg while Ian Miller suffered a cut head but both are expected to be passed fit.

While Wednesday, relegated to League One in May, will not offer the same level of threat as Sunderland, Cooper nevertheless wants a repeat of the committed display his players put in on Saturday.

"You know when you play against a Premier League team you are not going to see a lot of the ball," he said. "We expected Sunderland to have a lot of possession and I thought we defended very well. …

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